today's article is about Rumex scutatus L. from the Polygonaceae family, a close relative to the garden sorrel. In German, this species is known as “Schild-Ampfer”. Unfortunately, I've found no English name, but the translation of the German one is “Shield Sorrel”.
R. scutatus - habitus
It's a small herb, which can reach heights between 20 and 40 centimetres. The shoot grows erect, but is also slightly bent. The leaves are grey-green to blue-green and conspicuously pike-shaped to triangular. They have also a long stalk.
The inflorescences are racemes with six tepals; distributed on an inner and an outer circle with three tepals per circle. The outer tepals are green, while the inner ones (also called Valven in German) are red and until six millimetres long. Unlike some other species of the Genus Rumex, the “Valven” of R. scutatus have not any callus.
The main task of these “Valven” is to protect the fruit after ripening.
R. scutatus - leaves
R. scutatus is native to Middle Europe, South Europe and Asia Minor. It's a typical inhabitant of warm, rocky slopes, hillsides and scree but can also be found on warm places like ruderal wasteland or walls (e. g. old harbours. Railway tracks or gravel pits). It prefers calcareous and base-rich soils.